The UK central bank has spent just over £ 2,000 on three bank-wide initiatives to support the well-being of its employees, in the first year of a pandemic that has triggered a increased mental illness among city workers.
In the year through April 2021, the Bank of England, which includes the UK’s main banking supervisor, the Prudential Regulation Authority, spent £ 2,149 on three mental health initiatives for its roughly 4,000 employees, according to a Freedom of Information Act request from Financial news.
These included £ 840 on a workshop for its managers ‘around resilience during a pandemic’, £ 1,200 on an infertility workshop for its staff and £ 109.19 on a ‘wellness room’ in its Essex printing plant.
It was £ 150 less, or 6% less, than the previous year’s expenditure, however.
In the year up to April 2020, the Bank of England spent £ 2,297 on three ‘physical and mental wellness’ initiatives, including £ 480 for a grieving workshop open to all its employees, according to FAITH.
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The central bank also spent £ 1,800 on a ‘resilience and psychological well-being workshop’ for its senior executives and £ 17.50 on ‘transport reimbursement’ for a menopause conference for bank staff .
The Covid-19 crisis has caused an increase in mental illness among workers in the city, who have struggled under the pressures brought on by Covid-19 and Brexit, with many reporting longer working hours. In a February survey of senior finance executives by Financial news, 60% of those polled said Covid had made their lives more stressful, while 42% said the crisis, along with Brexit, had caused them to reconsider their careers.
The Bank of England said the initiatives listed in its response to JTF FN were “part of a wide range of ongoing wellness services” offered by the central bank to support the physical and mental well-being of its employees.
Other initiatives include a regular series of seminars “which provide [employees] practical advice on work and family matters ”and a range of flexible leave options, the central bank said.
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The Bank of England also currently has around 60 mental health first aid workers, an ‘active’ mental health network and an employee assistance program that offers advice and additional support to its employees, he said.
The central bank added that each of its business areas is allocated an annual budget to be spent on “local initiatives” relating to mental well-being.
“The Bank considers the well-being of its employees to be an important priority,” he said. “We offer sessions for staff on how best to support their own personal resilience and training for managers on how best to support the well-being of their teams. “
The Bank has been approached for further comments.
To contact the author of this story with comments or news, email Lucy McNulty